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  1. #1

    New and in need of a little instruction

    As a school project I'm going to make a documentary and I have to shoot and edit the whole thing by myself. Problem is I've never used a video camera in my life before and I don't really want the documentary to come out too amateurish. So I kinda hoped I could get some help.

    I'm going to borrow a camera from a teacher, but it isn't a digital camera. Is this going to cause trouble when editing the video?

    I have to walk around with the camera, can anyone tell me how to keep the camera as steady as possible?

    Well I think this is the most important I've got to know. I would be so glad if anyone could offer me a little help.

    At least thanks for reading ^^"

    ps. Yes, I did read the tutorial. But since english isn't my mother tongue I had some difficulties with understanding it all and thereby it didn't really answered my questions, for so far I could read it.

  2. #2
    Hmm.. if there is a firewire output from the camera, it should not be a problem. You can go online to check out how it looks like if you are not sure. Otherwise, you can check what the camera model is (should be printed on the body of the camera) and post it on the forum for query.

    One of the important things you don't want to do when you shoot on the move is to zoom in. When you zoom in, the small movements can become BIG movements. Tuck your elbow close to your body and don't grip your camera too tightly. Just hold it. I will see if I can attach some photos tomorrow in office.
    There's no bad camera, just a bad user
    Loong . Singapore

  3. #3
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    Quote: Whitemarble
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    As a school project I'm going to make a documentary and I have to shoot and edit the whole thing by myself. Problem is I've never used a video camera in my life before and I don't really want the documentary to come out too amateurish. So I kinda hoped I could get some help.
    Hello Whitemarble & welcome,
    I have to say bluntly but without discouraging you, if you've never held a camera in your hands and you don't want your shots to look amateurish, then you'll have to practice a lot of techniques. How much time? A lot... practice, practice, practice! Shoot any thing and everything and review them before doing your documentary work. If you could avoid handheld shots then practice on composition with a tripod of the shot because there may be elements that would be too distracting for the viewer.

    If your going to shoot right away when you haven't had time to be comfortable with the camera or just learning as you go along - it will be amatuerish. But whatever happens... have fun doing it!


    SC358
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  4. #4
    Thanks for the tips ^^

    @SC358: I kinda need to start filming coming saturday ^^" Getting the camera tomorrow, so I guess I'll be practicing with it the next...3 days O_o Woops, I'm afraid I'm doomed. Well, at least the grade will be about how much effort I've put into it

  5. #5
    If you get a tripod with it, use the tripod for steady shots. If you have to walk with it, you may be able to use a small tripod (with the tilt loosened all the way) as a bit of a counter-weight to help balance the camera (maybe not, depends on the camera and the tripod... don't try lifting a 20 lb. tripod with a 2 lb. camera, obviously)
    Eric Adler (tonsofpcs)
    http://www.videoproductionsupport.com/ Chat at: http://tinyurl.com/vpschat
    Follow me on twitter: @videosupport @eric_adler

  6. #6
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    Oh I wouldn't say you were doomed. On the contrary, this is your first time really doing something like this, don't expect to get professional results. At this stage, you should be having fun and excitement in all of the parts of pre-production, production and post-production. After all, you're in the learning stage and the fact that you have taken on this project is just a pre-cursor to what has interested you.

    Once you have finished it and put it behind you, you'll be looking for the next challenge!
    SC358
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  7. #7
    Quote
    Quote: SC358
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    At this stage, you should be having fun and excitement in all of the parts of pre-production, production and post-production.
    (emphasis mine)
    SC358 makes a good point here, do remember that you need to do more than just 'shoot video', you need to plan what you're going to need to shoot (sometimes this is scripted, sometimes not, for a documentary you are likely looking at some of each) for the final project, shoot that video [possibly a few times per shot, with a bit extra that you didn't plan on using], then create a final piece with it.
    Eric Adler (tonsofpcs)
    http://www.videoproductionsupport.com/ Chat at: http://tinyurl.com/vpschat
    Follow me on twitter: @videosupport @eric_adler

  8. #8
    Just to give you a little 'boost', here's some postures that I find are helpful for steadier hand holding. I thought it'll be more helpful to show some visuals.

    Depending on the height you are holding the camera, you can do the following. If you are shooting on shoulder level, you ought to tuck your elbow and wrist close to the side of your body. You do not have to be tight on your grip of the camera, just make sure it rests well on your palm with your fingers cradling it.

    If it is around waist level, you would do well to lock your elbow by your body, forming an 'L' shape with your hand. The left hand will act as a restbed for the camera, thus freeing the other hand to control the zoom and records. If you have a strap, you can also make it taut, 'pushing' it away from your body, so it becomes a kind of counter-balance.

    Apologies that I cannot link action with image, but I trust the pictures speak clearly with what I have described.

    Last of all, walk in small but steady steps, watch where you walk. Some people like to do crabwalk (walking sideways). It helps, but I find that it does not give the best steady shots. If you can, try what I have suggested and RECORD a short footage. Playback to see where you falter (your hand, your footing) and see if you can improve a little.

    All the best, and yup, as the rest mentioned, learn from the process and certainly, have all the fun!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    There's no bad camera, just a bad user
    Loong . Singapore

  9. #9
    Great T-Shirt Nagar!!!
    I see you support our wildlife!!

    Very neat photos and practical advice.

    Whitemarble, if you are on a tight budget make yourself a camcorder frame which will improve you handhelds 100% !! My DIY page link is below and the frame will cost just a few dollars to build and help you immensely!!! I use mine with a Panny GS500 for handhelds even at important stuff like weddings and the results are good!!!

    Chris

  10. #10
    Also another walking technique that I have seen and used, try walking with your knees bent, don't straighten your legs out, you may look silly (and it may be a bit uncomfortable) but it keeps your shot a bit steadier.
    Eric Adler (tonsofpcs)
    http://www.videoproductionsupport.com/ Chat at: http://tinyurl.com/vpschat
    Follow me on twitter: @videosupport @eric_adler

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